Week 2 Discussion

What is your response to the following statement
"The failures at Centralia occurred because political pressures were – once again - allowed to subvert
administrative responsibility."
The use of political pressures as a scapegoat for this incident limits and diminishes the true nature and
scope of the issues that lead to the disaster at Centralia. While it is true that the federal government’s
war agenda and Governor Greens’ political aspirations and posturing did influence the course of events,
other more insidious concerns also came into play. These include patronage and cronyism in both
governmental and union circles, campaign finance and quid pro quo favors, profit motive and corporate
opportunism, and the lack of competence, independence, and empowerment of intermediaries within
the bureaucratic chain all contributed significantly to the result of 111 men losing their lives. Centralia
was not politics as usual; it was a complex interaction of competing interests showing a shameful
disregard for human life.
What is your response to the following statement:
"The Centralia disaster was regrettable, but we must remember that the need for coal to support
the war effort had to take priority."
I believe this position glosses over private and governmental issues that factored in the Centralia
disaster. The safety of miners was not at odds with the coal production. The explosion in the mine, the
loss of over 100 workers, and the six days of observance called by the Union set back production and
cost the war effort far more than if the original basic safety protocols and recommendations had been
enforced. Add to this the cost of investigation and prosecution, diminished public opinion during
wartime, and any sympathetic responses in other unionized industries and the cost grows even further.
A policy dictating that the need for coal to support the war effort must take priority over miner safety
indicates a lack of strategic planning and defies logic.
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